Speaking at the launch of the distribution of plastic desks and chairs to schools in Osun State by the Federal Government and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), at the Local Authority Government Middle School in Ayetoro, Osogbo, the Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr. Dikko Suleiman, said the educational programme could equal any facility anywhere in the world.
Suleiman, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Yakubu Gambo, said the choice of Osun for the launch was done to reward hard work and the dedication of the Governor Rauf Aregbesola administration to the delivery of democratic dividends.
He added that the home grown school feeding programme in Osun was one programme, which had endeared the state to the Federal Government, noting that Osun was the only state feeding pupils.
The UBEC boss urged state governments and the Federal Capital Territory to access their matching grants with UBEC, which stood above N58 billion, by making available their counterpart funds to their State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs).
According to him, “the quality of the structures and infrastructure the governor has put in place in Osun can compete with any of such in developed countries. What we have in Osun can equal that of the United States.
“The home grown school feeding programme, the O-Meal, is one programme that has endeared His Excellency to us because he is the only governor doing it despite the capital intensive nature of the programme.
“We have embarked on intervention projects in Osun, some of which are the building of e-library in schools in Ilesa, Ikirun and Ipetumodu. We also built Almajiri schools in Ede, Osogbo, Ikirun and Iwo.”
Governor Aregbesola, in his address titled: ‘We are just coming out again,’ said the number of and the quality of the construction of schools in Osun could not be found in any part of the country.
The governor noted that the distribution of chairs and tables to schools was the beginning of a revolution in education, “not only in our state, but in the federation.”
He described the President Muhammadu Buhari administration as a purposeful government, which recognised education as the instrument for development and societal renewal, saying Osun was humbled and delighted to be the leading light of the revolution.
Aregbesola stressed that education was a sector his administration’s legacy would be felt, hence the substantial efforts by Osun in education.
He said: “We thank the Almighty God that despite efforts by our adversaries, who have opposed our steps and orchestrated a campaign of calumny against us and our programmes, we have been vindicated. By the grace of the Almighty, we shall continue to progress.
“We are building state-of- the-art 100 elementary schools, 50 middle schools and 20 high schools. This is a big project by any standard, which has injected life into the construction industry and has provided jobs for artisans and professionals.
“I assure you that we shall complete them before the end of our tenure.”
The Executive Chairman of SUBEB, Prince Felix Awofisayo, said the event marked a new direction and a policy thrust of the Federal Government in repositioning the education sector through direct intervention.
He said the measure would give succour to pupils.
The SUBEB boss stressed that the distribution of chairs and tables was a good development.
Awofisayo said: “The emergence of Governor Aregbesola in 2010 marked the beginning of a positive development in all facets of life, as the administration is anchored on the implementation of a cohesive and an all-encompassing six-point integral action plan.
“Let me reiterate that the provision of functional education for the citizenry represents one of the major focal points of this integral action plan of the governor.”
The Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Comrade Amuda Abdul-Waheed, said the materials distributed would be monitored for optimum use.
He said the choice of Osun as the first state where the chairs and tables would be distributed was a pointer to the fact that Aregbesola had performed well in the education sector.
The NUT boss thanked the Federal Government and UBEC for the distribution, assuring that teachers would cooperate with the government in ensuring that the achievement in education continued.
His words: “We are promising as teachers that we will supervise the use of the materials. We thank the Federal Government and UBEC for finding Osun worthy as the launch state for the distribution.”